Thursday, 27th December 2018 – Recipes (Sausage Cavatelli)
I got a cookbook for Christmas! As if I need more cookbooks…
However, I never turn a good cookbook down, as the bookshelves prove!
What I got this year is “Jamie Cooks Italy“, having enjoyed the TV series very much. And so i decided that after two days of quite complicated meals, pasta was in order. The sausage cavatelli looked as if it would hit the spot, and I had all the ingredients (or alternatives) to hand apart from the red onion.
- 200g durum wheat flour, or fine semolina flour, plus extra for dusting
- 100mls warm water
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- 1 dried red chilli
- 1 dried red pepper (see tip) or 1 teaspoon sweet paprika
- 15g fresh thyme
- 125g sausage, preferably spicy
- 1 red onion
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 125ml white wine
- 1 x 400g tin of quality plum tomatoes
- 40g pecorino, or Parmesan cheese
Pile the flour on to a clean surface and make a well in the middle (some recipes suggest a pinch of salt be added to the flour). Gradually add the warm water, using a fork to bring the flour in from the outside until it forms a dough. Knead on a flour-dusted surface for 10 minutes, or until smooth and elastic. Cut the dough into four so you can work with it a quarter at a time. Cover the rest with a clean damp tea towel while you work, to stop it drying out.
Roll your first quarter into a long sausage shape about 1cm in diameter, then cut it into 2cm chunks. Lightly flour the back of a fine grater, gently squash a chunk of dough against it with your thumb, then roll it off to create a nubbly, textured shape (they will be concave if you do them right). Place on a semolina-dusted tray.
Place a large frying pan on a medium heat with 3 tablespoons of oil (I just used 1 tbsp, it really shouldn’t need 3 unless your sausage are very lean).
Remove the stalks and seeds from the chilli and pepper, tear into flakes and add to the pan. Strip in the thyme leaves and fry for 30 seconds, or until crisp, then spoon out and save for later, leaving the pan on the heat (I skipped this stage because I used dried chilli flakes, and paprika, along with dried thyme, all of which I added in the next stage).
Squeeze the sausagemeat out of the skins into the pan and mash it up. Peel, finely chop and add the onion and garlic, then fry gently for 15 minutes, or until soft, stirring occasionally.
Add the wine, and simmer fiercely until it has cooked away, then mash in the tomatoes. Season and simmer for 15 minutes.
Cook the pasta in a pan of boiling lightly salted water for 4 minutes, or until tender, then drain, reserving a mugful of starchy cooking water (actually like gnocchi the cavatelli float to the surface once they are cooked).
Toss with the sauce, finely grate over most of the cheese and toss again, loosening with a splash of reserved cooking water, if needed. Sprinkle over the chilli pepper mix (if you did that stage) and finely grate over the remaining cheese, to finish.
Note: To make the dried pepper, preheat the oven to 100ºC/210ºF/gas ¼. Drain a 600g jar of roasted red peppers, pat dry with kitchen paper, rub with a little oil, tear in half, then lay on a tray lined with greaseproof paper. Leave to dry out in the oven for 4 hours, then remove.
As other people have noted on the website, the pasta was very solid and I now think mine was rather too dense. Initially I thought that might be because the flour was a tad old, but further research suggests it should be on the solid side. I think my problem was that I didn’t work it quite long enough, and some of the pieces were too thick. More research is needed (along with more practice). The sauce, on the other hand, is utterly fabulous, even with the substitutions! I’ll be making it again.